Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

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Discuss the concept of "crippled" as suggested in "The Glass Menagerie".

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The word 'crippled' in this play can be taken to have several meanings. In the most literal sense, it refers to Laura's limp, the slight physical handicap which is one of the reasons why she has grown up so shy. But the word can also be used to refer to her mental state, that she has effectively been 'crippled' by shyness all her life. Similarly, we can say that all the Wingfields are crippled, or severely restricted, in their social life: they seem to meet virtually nobody and have few, if any, bright prospects for the future.

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